SpaceX will start providing wireless internet on Hawaiian Airlines flights from the Starlink satellite network as early as next year, a service the airline plans to offer to passengers for free.
The deal marks the first for Elon Musk’s space company with a major airline. Starlink is SpaceX’s network of about 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, designed to deliver high-speed internet to consumers and businesses anywhere on the planet.
Hawaiian’s plan for complimentary connectivity with Starlink could increase pressure on rivals to offer free Wi-Fi for travelers.
The installation of Starlink terminals, also known as antennas, is expected to start next year on Hawaiian planes. Hawaiian doesn’t currently offer inflight Wi-Fi and has an extensive network of flights over the Pacific Ocean, serving the mainland U.S., Japan, Australia and New Zealand, among other destinations, from Hawaii. It plans to offer Starlink connectivity on its flights out of its home state to cities throughout the mainland U.S. and to its international destinations.
In a news release from Hawaiian, Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink commercial sales at SpaceX, also touted the product’s performance, “Hawaiian Airlines is ensuring its passengers will experience high-speed internet the way we expect it in the 21st century, making hassles like downloading movies before takeoff a relic of the past.”
Mannis, the executive at Hawaiian, emphasized that SpaceX’s vision for inflight internet “is quite different” than other competing satellite broadband providers, saying the goals for Starlink are that service “should be fast, and it should be frictionless, and it should be free.”
Make sure to check out our recent blog post on the top 10 ways to stay safe on public wi-fi networks. Top 10 Ways to Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Networks
Stay safe out there.